When I tell people I’m moving to a city I’ve never been to at the end of the summer, a lot of them ask me how I’m going to get all my stuff there, then look at me funny when I say I don’t really have that much.
Sometimes We Throw Things in the Car, Fast and take off, hurt, mad, kissing it all good-bye. Most of us, maybe, have done that. I knew a woman once threw an iced bucket, ten sweatshirts, and her high school annual in the car, ripped out of the driveway spitting gravel and didn't pull over until she heard a lone killdeer cry on a farmer's fence post. I loved that woman. I loved her crooked toes and her sweet seven-grain bread fresh from the oven, and I loved the good fit the front of my knees made with the backs of hers. And much more. But she took off. I know why she grabbed the sweatshirts, winter or summer that's almost all she wears, and the ice bucket (a gift from her maiden Aunt Jelly) she used for cattails, her favorite quote flowers. But why that ugly purple annual I'll never know--remembering high school made her wince and shudder, and the annual's pompous name, Veritas, she hated. The truth is, I don't know if a killdeer stopped her or not. I only know she likes their lonesome song, so every time I hear one I imagine she had to stop. Maybe afraid she also picked up the annual, read some gems her classmates had penned in blues and greens beside their pictures--as she did for me one New Year's Eve when we polished off a bottle of cognac in front of the fire, remembering things--remember the swell times in Mr. Six's World Lit, and stay sweet as you are, and good luck next year with your fabulous modeling career! The modeling line gave her the giggles--made her say Wow, that was close. Then she read something that made her say Oh. And shake her head. Little Timmy Noonan, she said, touching his small jerky script. I saw it. You are perfect, he wrote, and appeared to wish he could disappear though his collar. Maybe she didn't read the annual. Maybe she just looked at some black cattle standing at ease in the pasture, their moony eyes slowly turning to face her. No, that's awful. The crooked silo full of holes and all those swallows perched around the rim like wicked spitcurls are no good either. Little Timmy Noonan never knew her, she said. No one did. She left. And jerky words, moony cattle, silos, or listening hard to birds calling up their own worlds beside the road--none of that will bring her back. -Gary Gildner
Poem found in Annual Survey of American Poetry: 1985.